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Cal vs. Oregon State first looks: We meet again Mike Riley

What's your assessment of Oregon State and how we match up with them? Is this a winnable game or are the Beavers way ahead of us?

William Mancebo

Norcalnick: The problem here is that Oregon State's biggest strength - a passing game led by Sean Mannion - matches up with Cal's biggest weakness.

There's reason to be optimistic about Cal's ability to move the ball on offense, but the Beavers at the very least have proven to be opportunistic about forcing turnovers even as they give up big chunks of yards, and Cal hasn't exactly been great with ball control.

So I see this as a game where the talent gap isn't necessarily insurmountable the way it was against teams like Ohio State or UCLA, but the match-up itself doesn't seem ideal if you're hoping to see Cal snatch an upset.

Ruey Yen: Like Nick said, the matchup of Oregon State's great passing offense and the Cal secondary is a big concern. However, I am holding out some hope on the basis of Oregon State having allowed plenty of points themselves, even in some of their wins (48 points to Utah, 30 to San Diego State). I know I have been waiting for a game this year that is going to be a tremendous offensive shootout, maybe this game is finally it. If the Bears can avoid turning the ball over on offense and can actually get in the end zone rather than just racking up yards, this could be a fun back-and-forth game that comes down to the final few possessions. After the last few weeks, I would be very happy to have a game where the Bears are still within one score comes 4th quarter.

TwistNHook: Well, let's see here. Cal took on WSU at home and lost 44-22. Oregon State took on WSU at home and won 52-24. That's......not good. When OSU lost to some crappy directional school at the start of the year, everybody figured they'd suck this year. However, as usual, OSU had its standard September swoon and is back again, better than ever. Mannion had a 170ish QB rating against WSU, which is actually not that much higher than his average of 166. This is yet another explosive offense that Cal will be taking on. Oy!

Here are Mannion's splits this season.

This Game 34 51 493 66.7 9.67 46 4 1 1 169.8
Season 194 289 2511 67.1 8.69 55 25 3 7 166.6
Away 99 151 1303 65.6 8.63 55 12 1 3 162.9
Conf 88 148 1350 59.5 9.12 55 15 2 4 166.8
October 34 51 493 66.7 9.67 46 4 1 1 169.8

Any game is fundamentally winnable, but this one seems about as unwinnable as the rest. We have gone over how many ranked teams Cal has to play. By the end of the year, I wouldn't be surprised if OSU is the 2nd ranked OSU we have faced on the year. BCS Guru has them currently 27th in the soon to be unveiled BCS ranking.

So, they are right on the cusp of being ranked. Cal's schedule this year is so brutal, it's hard to get a real bead on where this team is. Each week, we seem to face yet another ranked team!